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90              A SEARCH IN SECRET EGYPT
violators of this tomb. The rapidity with which his illness developed was the cause of his being sent down to Cairo to receive the best medical attention that city could offer.
The patient was kept at the Continental Savoy, one of the largest hotels in Cairo. One evening, not long after his arrival, the electric light circuit failed and every lamp in the hotel was extinguished. For nearly an hour the place was plunged in darkness. When the lights were restored, Lord Carnarvon's nurse found him lying dead in his bed!
But I must return to my fowl.
At midnight, next day, someone might have been observed furtively reconnoitring the Kasr-el-Nil bridge, awaiting a favourable opportunity to dispose of a sacrificial fowl. It was not so easy as it seemed to carry out the task. Fo-r the bridge is in the heart of the European quarter of Cairo: a huge British soldiers' barracks faced it on one side, while the spacious, well-guarded, well-policed headquarters of the British High Commissioner fronts it on the other. To throw a mysterious-looking, paper-wrapped parcel into the sombre waters from such a height, and at such an hour, would lead any rational observer to but one conclusion, viz. that a murderer was trying to dispose of some portion of his victim's trunk or limbs! However, the moment came at last, the parcel was tossed over the bridge; as it hit the water with a slight gurgle, the midnight visitor heaved a sigh of relief and hurried safely away.
My Arab servant praised Allah for my safe return. He looked as happy as a kitten that had caught its first mouse.
I tried, on subsequent visits, to get my magician to explain his feats in more detail, so that one could discover whether they were mere conjuring tricks after all. But the old man would speak little on the subject and would relapse into long silences, as though he were wrapped up in some other world—perhaps the world of his genii. I realized that to get him to open those uncommunicative jaws would be a task indeed. His own son had once informed me, after some questioning, that his father never told his secrets to anyone and that he, the son, had long ago requested to be taught that he might follow the same profession; but the father had refused, saying that it was a profession both difficult and dangerous. His parents had told